As the Pentagon prepares to submit its 2016 budget, one of the cuts being made is the amount of benefits the United States military will receive. This decrease adds to a series of cuts that have progressed since 2011.
The Hill reported that the Pentagon is “planning another push to whittle down benefits for troops when it submits its 2016 budget to the White House in February,” despite the fact that this decision has been met with “fierce opposition” from military groups.
According to the Daily Caller, the Pentagon’s budget, which will span from 2016 to 2020, has left many Military members feeling “betrayed and frustrated,” as they conclude the “longest war in the nation’s history.”
The President of the Military Officers Association of America, retired Navy Adm. Norb Ryan, told The Hill that while the rate of growth of compensation did increase greatly between 2000 and 2010, due to the surge of forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, it has decreased drastically since 2011.
“Not only has the rate of growth for personnel compensation growth slowed,” said Ryan. “It has gone negative for the last three years, from 2011 on.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned of the upcoming benefit cuts on December 7, when he said that spending too much money on benefits and pay would take it away from being prepared for combat.
“Adjustments are going to have to be made because if they’re not made down into the future then we will essentially end up with a hollow force,” said Hagel. “We will have a lot of benefits and pay, but there’ll be no money for readiness.”
The Daily Caller reported that although the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act included an increase in pay of one percent, pharmaceutical co-pays also increased, while housing allowances dropped by five percent.
According to The Hill, while pay and benefits for troops dropped from $185 billion in 2011, to $177 billion in 2014, Pentagon officials argue that benefits “still eat up too much of the budget.”
On Monday, Defense Department spokesman Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban said that the budget for troops benefits would only continue to decrease.
“We have and will continue to look at ways to slow the growth of compensation,” said Urban. “I would expect these efforts to continue to some degree in the 2016 Defense budget.”